. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Upsets Clear Way for Agassi to Claim Top Spot

MELBOURNE -- Teen sensation Mark Philippoussis, flying high after conquering Pete Sampras, was shot down Monday by the slicing and softballing of wily veteran Mark Woodforde in the Australian Open.


Philippoussis, nicknamed "Scud," who never dropped service in knocking Sampras out of the No. 1 ranking two days earlier, was broken seven times in his 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 loss.


Sweden's Mikael Tillstrom, playing his first hardcourt Grand Slam tournament, upset No. 3 Thomas Muster in four sets at the Australian Open on Sunday, clearing the way for Andre Agassi to claim the No. 1 ranking.


Defending champion Agassi had to struggle from behind for the third time, but beat Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman in five sets to gain the quarterfinals.


If he beats fellow American Jim Courier in the quarters, he will take over the No. 1 rank lost by Sampras. Otherwise, Muster will be No. 1 despite his loss, thanks to points amassed in a very successful clay court season last year, when he won the French Open -- his only Grand Slam title to date.


Mixing drop shots among deep and wide blasts, Tillstrom, ranked No. 105, triumphed 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours.


Asked about the possibility of taking the top ranking if Agassi loses Tuesday, Muster said whoever has the most points deserves to be No. 1.


"It's not that you buy your points in the supermarket,'' he said.


Earlier, Agassi finished strong in his 4-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 fourth-round win.


"If I don't win the tournament, I don't want to be ranked No. 1,'' he said.


While Woodforde says he isn't talking now about winning the tournament, Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov is.


After the sixth seed beat American MaliVai Washington 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 on Monday, a television interviewer said, "I've got $10 that says you'll win.''


"Make it $100, I won't disappoint you,'' Kafelnikov, never at a loss for words, responded.


He next faces No. 4 Boris Becker, who overcame his usual slow start for a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Brett Steven of New Zealand. Becker, winner of five Grand Slams but none since the 1991 Australian Open, needed five sets to win each of his first two matches here.


It was a bad day for a power-serving woman. No. 11 Brenda Schultz-McCarthy lost 6-1, 6-4 to the tournament's youngest player, 15-year-old Martina Hingis of Switzerland.


Hingis provided a light moment, after serving a 160 kilometer-per-hour ace -- a speed record for her, she said -- while leading 5-1 in the first set. After the two women joked over that, and Schultz-McCarthy backed up to receive the next serve, Hingis tried an underhand serve.


She lost that point, but made life tough for the Dutch player by giving her only four unforced errors. Schultz-McCarthy had 34.


Of the underhand serve, Schultz-McCarthy, who set a women's record in the match with a 196-kilometer-per-hour serve, said: "For her, it's just a game, which is great, I think. I wish I could see it like that. I'm 25. You fight for every point, and then this little girl just hits an underhand serve."


Schultz-McCarthy also had held the old record, 187 kilometers-per-hour.


Kafelnikov appeared unconcerned about Becker.


Before knowing how his next opponent would be, he said, "The player who I never won against is out of the tournament, Pete Sampras. Everybody else, I beat them. So why can't I win the Australian Open?''


Kafelnikov, dubbed AK-47 by other players, so far has yet to get past the semifinals of a major tournament.


This is the first time Woodforde, 30, one of the world's top doubles players, has reached the singles quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament. The 19-year-old Philippoussis, who served 29 aces against Sampras, had 12 against Woodforde -- but eight double faults.


Woodforde, who is ranked No. 67 to Philippoussis' No. 40, "wasn't scared at all,'' of the big teen. "I've beaten him in practice,'' Woodforde said, adding that his experience in playing against Philippoussis in doubles had helped.


Discussing strategy, Woodforde said that Philippoussis' game against Sampras "was just incredible ... That was just a blinder of a game.'' But Sampras plays with power, "just like Mark Philippoussis, and I think Scud just loves it. He just doesn't like the subtle changes of pace, and that's what I set out to do.''


At the end, "I was trying to blink away the tears,'' Woodforde said.In the quarterfinals, Woodforde meets No. 7 Thomas Enqvist, who beat Italian Renzo Furlan 7-5, 6-0, 6-3.


Courier reached the quarterfinals by winning his second straight five-setter, prevailing 7-5, 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 over South African Marcos Ondruska.


No. 5 Michael Chang, meanwhile, scored his fourth consecutive straight-sets victory, beating French qualifier Jean-Philippe Fleurian 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals. He will play Tillstrom in the quarterfinals.


Hingis' next opponent is No. 16 Amanda Coetzer of South Africa, who ousted unseeded Russian Elena Likhovtseva 6-3, 6-3.


(For other results, see Scorecard.)